Zap Termites with the Electro-Gun

Zap Termites with the Electro-Gun

Sonia Zjawinski
May 26, 2010

Termites are a major bummer. Not only are they totally gross to look at, but the longer you ignore them, the more damage they do to your home. Unfortunately, just like how dispersant chemicals can be more harmful than the oil spill they clean up, fumigating your home can be more harmful to you and the environment than a few bugs. Luckily, there's an alternative that lets you both save your home and be friendly to the environment.

Casmer Exterminating, located in Castroville, CA, has been using an Electro-Gun to zap home invaders for the past 35 years. The Electro-Gun sends 90,000 volts of electricity into the woods in an infected home. Because wood is naturally resistant to electrical current flow, the Electro-Gun combines high voltage with high frequency. "This system allows electrical current to penetrate wood and flow into the galleries and nests of drywood termites, killing them by electrical shock," Casmer's site says. You know you're frying the bastards when the Electro-Gun's buzzing drops in pitch. (Yes, we feel a bit sad about it...)

While the Electro-Gun kills 98 to 100 percent of the termites it comes in contact with, there's no way of knowing if every termite in your home has taken a seat in the portable electric chair. Pesticides are a way of guaranteeing the job is done. Casmer injects zapped colonies with Termidor, which uses the same pesticide used to kill fleas in Frontline. This ensures that any survivors get coated with the poison and take it back to the nest. This is the not so green part of Casmer's technique. While loads safer than using a toxic fumigant, like Vikane -- a sulfuryl fluroride fumigant that off gasses for months from plastics it's come in contact with and stays in the atmosphere for 30 to 40 years -- it's still poison. Alternatives to the pesticide, which may be equally effective when used with the Electro-Gun are mild borates or concentrated citric acid.

via Monterey County Weekly; images: Gregory Han, Etex

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